First Republic shares tank almost 33% despite $30b support

First Republic shares tank almost 33% despite $30b support

FILE PHOTO: A person walks past a First Republic Bank branch in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., March 13, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Shares of First Republic Bank lost almost 33% on Friday, totaling a loss of around 80% in the last 10 sessions, despite rescue package with $30 billion in deposits injected by large U.S. banks.

The beleaguered lender was in talks to raise money from other banks or private equity firms by selling new shares, the New York Times reported on Friday afternoon, citing three people with knowledge of the process. The bank could also negotiate to be sold, the report said. First Republic declined to comment.

Concerns about the bank’s health prompted top power brokers including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to put together an unprecedented rescue deal on Thursday. The lender also said it had borrowed up to $109 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve and an additional $10 billion from the Federal Home Loan Bank on March 9.

“The significance of the changes in (the company’s) balance sheet in just one week are staggering.. and along with the suspension of the common stock dividend, paints a very dire outlook for the company and shareholders,” said KBW Managing Director Chris McGratty.

Shares of Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co involved in the San Francisco-based lender’s rescue dropped between 2% and 4% on Friday.

Founded in 1985, First Republic had $212 billion in assets and $176.4 billion in deposits as of the end of last year, according to its annual report.

“Possibly the market is looking for an all-out sale/buyer rather than an injection of capital,” said John Petrides, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management, adding the situation is not over.

The bank’s earnings profile is “clearly impaired” and the new deposits effectively bridge the estimated $30.5 billion of uninsured deposits still on FRC’s balance sheet providing time for FRC to likely explore a sale,” Jefferies analysts led by Ken Usdin wrote in a note to clients.

The banks that were part of First Republic‘s rescue package are its most likely suitors for an acquisition, but the U.S. government is less likely to endorse a purchase by the biggest banks, said a source who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The rescue package came less than a day after Swiss bank Credit Suisse CSGN.S clinched an emergency central bank loan of up to $54 billion to shore up its liquidity.

Fed data on Thursday showed banks sought a record $152.9 billion in emergency liquidity from the U.S. central bank over recent days, surpassing the previous high that was set during the most acute phase of the financial crisis.

The borrowings speak to the “funding and liquidity strains on banks, driven by weakening depositor confidence,” Moody’s said. The ratings agency had downgraded its outlook on the U.S. banking system to negative earlier this week.


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